One of the goals of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is to provide minimum
protections to workers, such as minimum wage and overtime pay. In order
to ensure that the workers can assert their rights, the FLSA also protects
them from retaliation.
“Retaliation” refers to actions taken by your employer that
negatively affect your job. This not only includes terminations, but also
failures to promote, moves to less favorable shifts or locations and several
other actions that an employer may take as the result of you complaining
about wage and hour violations.
If you have questions about the FLSA or possible retaliation claims, it’s
a good idea to consult with an experienced
Atlanta wage and hour attorney. A recent FLSA retaliation case,
Kavanaugh v. CDS Systems,focused on the termination of an HR director. According to the complaint,
two of its employees made complaints concerning their classifications
as exempt. Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay, whereas
the FLSA requires “nonexempt” employees be paid at a rate
of one and one-half times their standard rate of pay for each hour worked.
In this instance, the exempt classification meant that the workers would
not receive significant overtime pay that they deserved. In response to
these complaints, the HR manager, began an investigation to determine
whether these employees were indeed misclassified. Based on her research,
she determined that the workers were misclassification and should be paid
overtime for each hour work in excess of 40 each week. She then sent an
email to the CFO concerning her complaints and the results of her investigation
She recommended that the company perform an audit to ensure all employees
were properly classified as exempt vs. not exempt, and come up with a
way to track hours worked by non-exempt employees.
Rather than acting on these findings, the CFO asked the HR manager how
to make the FLSA complaints “go away.” She responded that
the FLSA was the law, and as employers they were required to follow it.
The HR director performed an audit and determined that several employees
had been misclassified. Three days later the HR Director was fired. She
filed a lawsuit alleging that she was discharged in violation of the FLSA’s
anti-retaliation provisions, as well as other state law provisions.
The court determined that such allegations, if true, state a claim for
retaliation pursuant to the FLSA.
The bottom line – the FLSA protects employees. If you believe your
rights have been violated, you should not fear job retaliation as the
result of your complaint. Further, workers who try to do the right thing
should not be punished for their efforts.
For more information or if you have any wage and hour questions, please
contact the top
Georgia wage and hour lawyers at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC.